Best Internet Bundle Plans 2013
Bundles are Telco packages that include your home phone, Internet plan and other peripheral features designed to entice consumers into getting a good deal that makes their buck go further. But with so many available at the moment, sometimes it’s hard to tell which offer the best value for money.
By Mike Wheeler
Bundles are Telco packages that include your home phone, Internet plan and other peripheral features designed to entice consumers into getting a good deal that makes their buck go further. But with so many available at the moment, sometimes it’s hard to tell which offer the best value for money. There are several things that need to be taken into consideration when making a decision. How much data does your family use? Do you call overseas or interstate a lot? How many devices do you have connected to the internet? How big is your household? Once you answered these questions, you can start making decisions.
Having sifted through the plans available from all the major players we decided to use the average four-person family as a benchmark of the type of plan people should choose. Here are our picks of what we think are some of the best available from the various telcos. Be aware that some of them have joining fees, charge for modems, and charge extra if you go over data allowances, so check terms and conditions carefully when signing up. Also, these plans relate to ADSL2+ unless otherwise stated. Finally, it is possible to separate your phone and internet connection, but you will probably pay a little more.
Telstra plans tend to be more expensive than most – whether it’s because they have the best coverage, are trying to appease shareholders or believe they do indeed offer the best value for money is anybody’s guess. The one we like is its Telstra Entertainer Bundle, which comes in four sizes – small, medium, large and extra large, with price going up with each iteration. The medium package would be the one we’d choose for the 100GB of data, landline, discounted international calls (what they are depends on the country being called), calls to mobiles ($3 cap per call), plus a T-box with access to 11 channels. This will set you back $115 a month.
Australia’s second biggest player offers just as many options as Telstra, with the Social bundle plan – coming in at $85 a month – being the best value. You’ll get a more than reasonable 120GB of data, a landline, a free wifi modem for new customers, some included calls to other landlines and Optus security. But the clincher is the unlimited calls to those on Optus mobiles. A nice way for Optus to get your whole family with the company.
TPG has had problems with the ACCC over the way it has advertised its bundle plans in the past, but are now transparent with what they have on offer. We are tempted by their $69.99 plan with its unlimited local calls and standard national calls to landlines. But for an extra $10 you get unlimited calls to Australian mobiles and unlimited international calls to 11 countries including China, India, the UK and USA. A pretty good deal for expats, and one that leaves us scratching our head as to how they can afford to do it.
iiNet has a couple of bundle options that look good – The TV Combo and the Mobile Combo. Both offer up great features, but as we are picking the best of the best, we could only have one, and we believe the Mobile Combo is the one that’ll be of most benefit to a family of four. It will set you back $104 a month and you will get 200GB of data, a home phone with local and national calls included, back-up protection pack, and (the clincher) $200 worth of call and text value to mobiles. It also includes 200MB of 4G data, which is a bit of a ‘so what?’ until 4G coverage is a lot more concentrated.
South Australia-based Internode does quite have the coverage to make its offerings on the same scale as some of the other providers, but they’re still worth a look. There are only three available in the spectrum we are looking at with the Wireless Bridge one at $104 being our choice. You get 200GB of data, a nodeline home phone connection, a wireless bridge plug-and-play router so you can connect to the included Fetch TV, and a Starter 15 Plan, which is Internode-speak for mobile connectivity whereby you get $200 worth of texts and calls, plus 200MB of data on your mobile.
Southern Cross Telco
A small start-up out of Tasmania, Southern Cross likes playing amongst the Big Boys when it comes to pricing of its combos. There are several to choose from, but taking into consideration the criteria we set, the best would be the Platinum Family offering, which will costs $99.95 a month. Customers will get a huge 500GB of data, line rental, unlimited standard and national calls to fixed lines, with calls to Australian mobile phones setting you back $0.36 a minute.
Dodo is interesting in that they are offering by far the cheapest data-to-cost deal of them all, but they split them into two types of plan – metro and regional. We’d opt for the $59.75 for regional, which gives you 3TB of data plus home phone, while for five cents more in metro areas you get unlimited internet plus home phone. Note there are no other features to these plans, which is probably why it is cheaper.